Ceruminolytic efficacy in adults versus children

Michele M. Carr, Rachael L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: An inexpensive, nontoxic ceruminolytic with reasonable efficacy that can be used by the patient or their caregivers at home could represent significant financial saving for patients and health care systems. The purpose of this study was to compare two simple ceruminolytics for in vitro efficacy. Study Design: Randomized controlled trial. Methods: Thirty-six children and 33 adults presenting to a community family practice clinic who had cerumen occluding at least one external auditory canal were randomly assigned to compare use of 10% aqueous sodium bicarbonate and 2.5% aqueous acetic acid as ceruminolytics in occlusive cerumen. Results: We were unable to demonstrate a difference between in vivo efficacy of these two ceruminolytic solutions, but both solutions were significantly more efficacious in children than adults. Conclusions: There is a role for these ceruminolytics in children with occlusive cerumen, but adults would be better treated in another way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-156
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Otolaryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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